"In the last three games (2-1) we've been playing some sound
basketball,'' said Jordan, likely playing his last game in
Indianapolis. "Hopefully we can keep building on this with the way
we've been playing. We know we're stacked against the odds in terms
of what we have to do.''
The Pacers turned a 10-point third quarter deficit into a
one-point lead with 2:51 left when Reggie Miller, who led them with
25, hit a 3-pointer.
Then the Wizards took advantage of Indiana's offensive
ineptitude. They scored six straight points and the Pacers missed
four straight shots as Washington took a 79-74 lead.
Two free throws by Jermaine O'Neal cut the gap to 81-78 with
18.7 seconds left, but Jerry Stackhouse, who scored only 12 points,
sealed the win with free throws.
Washington won for the first time at Conseco Fieldhouse (1-8)
and snapped a 12-game road losing streak to the Pacers.
"The focus is there right now,'' Jordan said. "I just like the
way they're competing.''
The same can't be said of Indiana. The Pacers have lost five
straight games -- their longest skid of the season -- and eight of
"We're just not making the plays we normally make,'' O'Neal
said. "We're not getting the stops we normally make. It's not one
side of the court. It's both sides.''
Jordan, who has scored over 20 points in four of the last five
games, was Washington's only offensive threat in the first half,
scoring 16 points on 8-for-14 shooting.
With flashbulbs popping on seemingly every shot, Jordan hit one
jumper after another, over either an overmatched Al Harrington or
an injured Ron Artest. He helped the Wizards to a 38-36 lead at the
"I didn't see the flashbulbs,'' Jordan said. "I never do. I'm
focusing on the shot.''
Late in the fourth, Jordan was kneed in the quad after he
collided with Miller. Jordan said it was sore, but didn't expect to
miss any time.
Jordan came out feeling better than Artest, who said Monday he
wasn't going to play with a sore right elbow. He was talked into
starting, but it limited him offensively -- he was 3-for-17 from the
"It's a big factor,'' Artest said. "The good thing about it
is, I'm getting better. It's going to take a little bit of rest. I
should have rested tonight. I shouldn't have played.''
When Jordan's shots stopped falling in the third, the Wizards
turned to Lue, a 6-foot guard with a 7.7 scoring average. Lue
drilled three 3-pointers in the quarter and accounted for nine
straight Washington points to push the lead at 60-52.
"When they didn't have anything, they found me and I was
fortunate to hit some 3s,'' said Lue. "We just wanted to attack
and use my speed and quickness to come off the pick and roll.''
Lue, who had his first double-double of the year, also took care
of the ball, not committing a turnover. The Wizards only had three
turnovers the game, compared to Indiana's 13. The three turnovers
tied the NBA record for fewest in a game.
The Pacers made a run in the fourth quarter when O'Neal started
to show some life. He broke his nose last week and started the game
wearing a protective mask. It was quickly discarded, but he
appeared tentative around the basket and spent the early part of
the game shooting jumpers without much success.
O'Neal though, scored eight points early in the fourth, and his
16-footer tied the score at 69. He finished with 16 points and 15
Baskets by Stackhouse and Haywood made it 73-71 before Miller's
3 put the Pacers ahead for the last time.
Indiana starting PG Jamaal Tinsley did not play because of
an illness in his family. ... Indiana C Brad Miller had 10 points
and 11 rebounds... Washington coach Doug Collins said he expects to
place F/C Etan Thomas on the injured list with a bruised left eye
socket. Collins said Thomas is experiencing double vision and could
miss the rest of the season if surgery is needed. Jahidi White
would be activated. ... The Pacers activated G Jamison Brewer from
the injured list. Jonathan Bender was added to the list with a sore
left calf. ... Jordan received a pregame video tribute and a
standing ovation. His first All-Star game and his first comeback
game in 1995 were in Indianapolis.